The Keith and Judy Swayne Family Foundation in conjunction with the Association of Small Foundations, Southern California Grantmakers and Resource Generation hosted a Funders’ Discussion on Women’s Challenges in Orange County on March 7, 2011 at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach, California. The forum was designed to bring together experts in the field with funders to allow for an exchange of ideas and to share insights from both the funder and grantee perspective. The forum featured two outstanding leaders in the field: Dr. America Bracho of Latino Health Access in Santa Ana, California and Vivian Clecak of Human Options located in Irvine, California. Both America and Vivian are nationally recognized leaders. Over thirty people attended the forum with seventeen funders represented ranging from family foundations to corporate foundations and the Orange County Community Foundation.
Dr. Bracho founded Latino Health Access to assist with the multiple health needs of Latinos in Orange County. The center facilitates empowerment and uses participatory approaches in community health education. She has received numerous awards and was recently featured on a Bill Moyer’s special. Vivian Clecak is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Human Options. Human Options has cutting edge programs designed to break the intergenerational cycle of domestic violence and bring new attention to the children. Human Options has served over 23,000 individuals in direct services and reached over 220,000 individuals through community education programs. Vivian is recognized as an expert on domestic violence with nationally televised appearances and numerous awards.
America and Vivian started the discussion by providing their insights on the struggles of women in the county. America focused on the challenges that Latino women in the inner city areas face and stressed the importance of empowering them to act on their own behalf. Vivian presented a picture of the state of domestic violence in the county and the need for education to stop the cycle of violence plus the need to provide abused women and families with a means to escape the abusive relationships and reestablish their lives on sound footing. Both presentations were compelling. Discussion following their presentations was led by Anne Swayne Keir of the Swayne Foundation. From this discussion came not only a better understanding of the issues but a better picture of how funders can best assist in addressing the issues. There was a healthy exchange of questions and comments that helped all parties better understand the issues and the funding challenges.
The Keith and Judy Swayne Family Foundation has hosted several of these forums in Orange County and in Honolulu, Hawaii. Their objective is to bridge the gap between funders and grantees to better educate all parties on the needs in the community and the challenges of funding to meet those needs. The foundation encourages funders interested in attending and participating in future forums to contact the Keith and Judy Swayne Family Foundation at www.swaynefoundation.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.